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How To Stay In Shape In Investment Banking: 4 “Miracle Exercises” To Keep A Strong & Lean Body, Despite Working 80+ Hours A Week

Stay fit

​​“How am I supposed to stay in shape when I’m working 80 hours a week?! I don’t have time for anything else!”

Don’t panic mate, I hear you…

I know what it is to work from 9am to 1am+ for a full week, and how impossible it feels to squeeze in a work out session!

We know we should do more physical exercise, but at the same time, we work so hard that we don’t have the time nor energy to go to the gym.

As a result, you find two main types of people among junior bankers:

  • The ones that are visibly overweight, due to the fatal combination of Uber Eats burgers at the desk + total lack of exercise
  • The ones that are very slim but with a complete lack of muscle mass, because they never work out


Personally, I’ve been in the second category for quite a long time when I was working at GS.

But one day, I got tired of looking like a human toothpick and went on a quest to find time-effective exercises to get myself into shape as fast as possible.

I tried dozens of different exercises, bought an expensive gym card, tried different sports, watched countless YouTube fitness videos during the weekends, and even talked to some of my friends who were in top shape for advice.

And after months of experimentation and optimization, I came to realize that there are a few select exercises that nearly anybody can do to obtain a great physique quickly.

Now, these exercises are not a magic pill, you still need to do the work. But they are, to my knowledge, the “highest ROI” exercises you can do to stay in shape despite having a very busy lifestyle.

If you know me, you know that I’m obsessed with getting maximum returns from minimal investments of time and effort.

All the exercises that I’m about to present require a relatively small investment of time for very significant physical gains if you keep doing them every week.

I call them “miracle exercises” because they are so incredibly effective, and are relatively easy to follow and sustain over the long-term.

And the good news is: you don’t need to step one single foot into the gym (yes, you heard that right).

I haven’t been to the gym in years, and yet I’m in a very athletic shape just by following these simple exercises…

So let’s get to it…

Miracle exercise #1: Use a resistance band at home to train your biceps, triceps, abs and legs
Work out

If you want to have the physique of Dwayne Johnson, you will need to go to the gym several times a week, there’s just no way around it.

However, if your goal is to build decent muscle mass and maintain a strong body overall, the only thing you need is a resistance band – which you can buy for less than £15 on Amazon.

Resistance bands are elastic bands that are used for strength training. They may look unimpressive when you look at them, but a strong resistance band can offer over 30 kilos of resistance, which can yield fantastic gains.

Now, you’ll have to find a resistance band that suits your goals and current strength (go for a medium-strength resistance band if you’re starting out, otherwise it’ll be too heavy for you).

The big benefit of resistance bands is that you don’t need to go to the gym. You can just wake up, take your resistance band at home, do a few series of resistance exercises for 15 to 20 minutes (there are plenty of tutorials online), and you’ve done your work out for the day.

If you practice 2-3 times a week, you should see visible gains very quickly, depending on the quality of your movements.

Miracle exercise #2: Interval sprinting

This one is a bit more hardcore, and I would advise against it if you have asthma or any respiratory medical condition.

Interval sprint is a high-intensity type of running that involves doing several short bursts of running at near maximal speed, with “resting” periods between each sprint.

In my case, I run very fast for 30 seconds (at 90% of my maximum speed), then I jog very lightly for one and a half minutes, and I repeat this cycle (sprint then light jog) 6-8 times.

When you first try this interval sprint exercise, it will probably be very hard. But trust me, the benefits are well worth it.

In just 15 minutes of interval sprinting, you can burn as many calories as by running normally for 40-45 minutes. In other words, you get the same health benefits in a third of the time.

Try it, you’ll see how fast you’ll burn fat and gain endurance. I personally hate running for hours, so doing these short sprinting sessions is perfect for me. And it fits nicely into a very busy schedule.

Miracle exercise #3: Playing squash
Playing squash

I discovered squash thanks to a colleague of mine at GS. Squash is one of the most time-effective sports on Earth to burn calories, cut down fat, and gain stamina.

A good squash player can burn over 800 calories in just an hour! To burn a similar amount of calories, you would need to run 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes at moderate speed…

If you play squash one time per week (on Saturday or Sunday for instance), you will quickly notice a measurable improvement in fitness that will help you cope better with the demands of your IB job.

If you pair squash with interval sprinting, you’ll be in top shape faster than you could ever hope for (especially if your diet is on point).

Miracle exercise #4: Skip breakfast, a.k.a intermittent fasting

This one is not really an exercise, but more a diet habit that can produce significant health benefits in the medium to long-term.

When you skip breakfast, you enter into a phase of “16/8 intermittent fasting” everyday (you stop eating for 16 hours, and you eat within a 8 hour window – typically lunch and dinner).

This intermittent fasting practice has been clinically proven to have numerous health benefits, including reduced caloric intake (400 less calories per day on average), increased weight loss, and a stronger metabolism.

It’s difficult to skip breakfast if you’re used to eating your usual pain au chocolat in the morning. But trust me, it only takes a few days for your body to get used to it, and the health benefits come quickly – you’ll feel leaner, healthier, and in greater shape.

Since skipping breakfast literally requires zero investment of time (you’ll actually save time), it’s very easy to integrate in a hectic investment banking lifestyle.

Try these exercises if you want to stay fit, it just works like magic.

Stay healthy!


A word about the author

Aurelian Tran is the founder of Alpha Lane and an ex-Goldman Sachs analyst who has spent 4+ years working in the investment banking industry.

He founded Alpha Lane to help students and young professionals achieve their highest professional ambitions, by securing offers at top-tier financial institutions.